Supporting Media Literacy to Stop the Spread of Online Disinformation

News release

OTTAWA, October 26, 2020

A strong digital citizenship relies on diverse and reliable sources of information. To address the increase in online disinformation, we must support independent organizations who dedicate their efforts in educating citizens on how to be more critical of online information.

The Honourable Steven Guilbeault, Minister of Canadian Heritage, and the Honourable Dominic LeBlanc, President of the Queen’s Privy Council for Canada and Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs, invite Canadians to participate in Media Literacy Week 2020

Minister Guilbeault announced that Canadian Heritage’s Digital Citizen Contribution Program is providing $225,000 over three years to support Media Literacy Week 2020, 2021 and 2022. This longstanding event, created by MediaSmarts, raises awareness of digital and media literacy across Canada.The program provides funding to research- and citizen-focused activities that support democracy as well as social cohesion in the digital world and support efforts to counter online disinformation.

MediaSmarts will use Media Literacy Week to encourage Canadians to thinking critically. The event, co hosted by the Canadian Teachers Federation, will include activities for schools, libraries, education associations and community organizations. These resources will focus on the importance of digital and media literacy in educating young people to think critically.

Quotes

“I invite Canadians to participate in the activities presented by MediaSmarts this week to highlight the importance of media literacy. We find ourselves in a time when we need to think very carefully about online information. Together, we can develop the skills to navigate online information in a safer and more informed way and reduce the impact of online disinformation on our society. I wish everyone a great Media Literacy Week.”

—The Honourable Steven Guilbeault, Minister of Canadian Heritage

“Media literacy encourages people to question, evaluate, understand and appreciate their multimedia culture. On this 15th anniversary of Media Literacy Week, I am inspired by MediaSmarts’ continuing efforts to educate Canadians and help combat misinformation and disinformation online. By taking part and promoting digital literacy online, we can help safeguard our democratic institutions and ensure that Canada remains strong and free.”

—The Honourable Dominic LeBlanc, President of the Queen’s Privy Council for Canada and Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs

“The Department of Canadian Heritage’s support of MediaSmarts’ annual national event, Media Literacy Week, allows Canadian citizens of all ages in schools, libraries, museums and community centres across the country to build their digital resilience. The support from Canadian Heritage has helped Media Literacy Week flourish and grow, and furthers MediaSmarts efforts to ensure that all Canadians have the critical thinking skills we all need to engage with media as active, informed and resilient digital citizens.”

—Kathryn Hill, Executive Director, Media Smarts

Quick facts

  • The Digital Citizen Initiative provided $654,134 in funding for MediaSmarts’ Critical Thinking in the Digital Age: Countering Coronavirus Misinformation project this spring through Canadian Heritage’s Emergency Support Fund for Cultural, Heritage and Sport Organizations. In total, 34 projects received almost $4.5 million in emergency funding through the Digital Citizen Initiative to help combat false and misleading information about COVID-19 as well as the associated discrimination

  • The Digital Citizen Initiative supports democracy and social cohesion in Canada by building citizen resilience against online disinformation and building partnerships to support a healthy information ecosystem. Since 2019, it has awarded $17 million dollars in funding to 100 projects across Canada.

Associated links

Contacts

For more information (media only), please contact:

Camille Gagné-Raynauld
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Canadian
camille.gagne@canada.ca

Media Relations
Canadian Heritage
819-994-9101
1-866-569-6155
pch.media-media.pch@canada.ca
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